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LLB-3 EFCOM (2:00-3:40PM) M-F

Why Street dancing and Merrymaking in Sinulog should be or not be banned

In the Old Testament of the Bible, we can read that King David performed a sacred dance, sang
praises, jumping and shouting for joy to honor God in a procession-like ceremony while transporting the
Gods Covenant Box or Ark of Covenant ( 2 Samuel 6:1-17) which was possibly the basis of the Cebu
Citys Sinulog street dancing. And also during our Lord Jesus time, it was customary that in every feast
or celebration there was always a merrymaking like when He attended the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-
12). He also told us in the Parables of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-10) and the Prodigal Son (Luke
15:11-32) that were possible basis of the practice or tradition which Cebu Citys Catholics derived
merrymaking in their annual city fiesta celebration of the Feast of the Santo Nino together with its major
highlight: the popular Sinulog Festival. Usually, as a common practice anywhere in our country on every
fiesta like the Feast of The Santo Nino of Cebu City, it is every Catholic devotees fulfilling of his religious
vow or showing his thanksgiving to the Holy Child in form of dancing as in Sinulog (street dancing similar
to Ati-atihan of Aklan or Embajada of Samar-Leyte which is a reenactment of the Christian and Moros
battle resulting to the defeat and christening of the Moors) which afterwards merriments follows later
as part of the fiesta celebration.

In Cebu City, Sinulog Festival is actually a religious celebration of the Feast of Santo Nino as city
fiesta in honor of their patron saint, Senor Santo Nino de Cebu. Sinulog became identified with Cebu City
and became a popular tourist attraction especially that there is an invitational competition with big
prizes to win. It helped boost Cebu tourism industry and increased local business profits .It was
compared to the world- famous Mardi Gras Festival of Rio de Janiero of Brazil wherein colorful and
cheerful street dancing and merriments are celebrated around the city.

The positive side of the Sinulog is that it helped strengthened the faith of the devotees and it
also helped the collection of revenues through tourism promotions of the said festival. However, there
are some negative effects that after the street dancing followed by street merrymaking, criminal
incidents are reported such as street troubles, sexual harassment/exploitations and thefts in isolated
cases aside from loitering and littering or garbage dumping, noise barrage and public scandals due to
alcohol intoxication and substance addiction. Though it is their ways of celebration, police visibility is a
must to minimize or control any untoward criminal incidents to happen because it will ruin the religious
celebration or Cebus image, in general. The Cebuanos are known to be religious, therefore, they must
show respect to the occasion through goodwill and hospitality to visitors and self-discipline and courtesy
to other by observing and obeying basic laws or rules and regulations as friendly, God-fearing, peace-
loving and law-abiding citizen.

If bad and criminal acts and practices of the people will continue and is hard to be control, then
street merrymaking should be ban but not the street dancing. To solve this problem, as like others
celebration of their annual fiesta, merriments should be hold in the privacy of their private homes with
their visitors and not in the street to more formal and secured. Cebu City local government should fully

implement their environmental laws particularly on waste or garbage disposal, they should follow the
steps of Puerto Princesa City of Palawan which is clean and garbage-free. Peace and order must be
imposed by the authorities through planning using security drives and measures with the cooperation of
law enforcement agencies and the people including other sectors. On such occasion, business
establishments must not take advantage of prices as it should be regulated. Traffic regulations should be
strictly imposed even on such celebration of street merrymakings to avoid car and pedestrian accidents
and traffic violations. If there will be anomalies and corruption found in the competition, then street
dancing should also be ban for it will destroy the image of the tourism industry as well as the Church
where the religious celebration is derive from Extravagance display from high-cost costumes and props
in the Sinulog is impractical to some participants unless sponsored by any government and private

The present concept of the Sinulog is not in consistent with our Catholic faith and is in a mixture
of ritual and street dance as manifested by the drumbeats except for using the Viva, Santo Nino !or
Pit, Senor! chants while holding and waving of the image of Santo Nino of little religious relevance
which is quite different from what King David did with his sacred dance as religious vow. However, the
tribal dance or street dancing of the Sinulog, ironically is in contrast to historical fact that Cebu or Sugbu
was a Moorish kingdom before which was later Christianized by the Spaniard but not expressed by the
Sinulog dancers costumes but instead using different irrelevant attires. What is nearer to the true
concept of Sinulog is the battle between Christians and the Moros and thru the intercession of Santo
Nino, the Moros were defeated and was converted to which they vowed in veneration. The Leyte-
Samars Embajada version of Sinulog is a form of choreographed battle dance which is accompanied
with drumbeats and is reenacted as a public stage play but not a street dancing like what was practiced
in Cebu City and another variation in Aklan known as Ati-atihan and Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo.

Lastly, what was allowed by the Church is the procession and veneration of the Santo Nino
image and celebration of the Holy Mass beyond that are extra-religious activities such as Sinulog Festival
and was adopted by the city government thru enacting ordinances for establishing the said festival and
promoting or boosting it as world-class tourist attraction including other tourism spots and industry
attracting tourists to compete with the other local and international festivals.